FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS, MARTYRS, DECEMBER 28, 2019
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 2:13-18
When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son. When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.
Reflection: “Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the first martyrs of the church. Their lives were sacrificed for the sole reason that Jesus was born. Jealousy and greed invoked Herod’s fear of being ousted and replaced by a greater king. He used any means at his disposal to keep his position and power. These children’s lives were a threat to him and could possibly change his life. His heart was so filled with evil that he had no room for love and compassion toward those he injured and killed. Evil will stop at nothing to rid God of his Son and the work He was destined to accomplish.
I find it interesting that the Hebrew name, Rachel, means lamb. The Holy Innocents, the Lamb’s children, are slaughtered for evil desires. This evil resounds today in the slaughter of God’s innocent unborn children. Evil twists the truth and allows room for people to believe that abortion is a “right”. It appears that getting rid of the child is more advantageous for evil than allowing God to enter into the world through this baby. God works to bring us love and peace through each other and the most untainted state of a person is a newborn. They are innocent, vulnerable and unable to purposefully sin.
As societies around the world view children as burdens, let us rise in the middle of this dark and cold night to save God’s babies. We can imitate the Holy Family and flee to a safe place in prayer to God our Father. As we listen for His voice, may His angels guide us in bringing unborn children to safety and may God deliver us all from evil.